Local or 'Global'
Every business has a dilemma. Does it focus on its local customers, or go for any business it can get, possibly leading it further afield, including abroad?

Even 'virtual' companies must have a base, even if it someone's back bedroom. These local links are often overlooked by companies, especially when they leave the area. We have had a recent case of a large company that left the local area with a promise to help 'smooth' the transition in the community. Many of the company's former employees still live in the area, having decided not to relocate abroad, and as a result the unemployed and early retired population is higher than in surrounding areas.

As the company is still trading, it is seen as an act of goodwill to help the community with certain community projects. Obviously this support will be time limited, but it does show a sense of Social Responsibility.

Now that story relates to a community devastated by the relocation of a large organisation from a rural area. But do you chase the high paying customers, just for the sake of a good income, even if the outgoings eat into your cashflow. The alternative is to attract the local customers, charging less but enjoying shorter travel times, and lower costs.

In my business - e-marketing - I find this to be a serious dilemma. Many of the local customers are seriously uneducated in terms of Internet presence and marketing. The low prices they expect (and therefore the entry point for doing business with them) means that I have to do a great deal of work for their ever changing views, whilst educating them, and getting frustrated by their lack of e-business understanding (I am a great believer in educating the customer - but I find these locals "know their business" and are difficult to persuade otherwise).

The only way to drum home the fact that these local customers are getting a good deal is to highlight the NORMAL price, and show the discount they are receiving. Some will, of course be unaffected by this, but you will find some who will be willing to accept more from you when you demonstrate your actual worth.